BMW M8 Review & Prices
The BMW M8 is supercar quick, easy to drive for long periods and looks great. However, some features cost extra that shouldn’t, and the cheaper M850i is very nearly as good
Find out more about the BMW M8
If a BMW M4 is a small, nimble Velociraptor, then the BMW M8 is more like a T-Rex. It looks pretty similar from a distance, but up close it’s larger, visibly heftier and much more intimidating. It’s also significantly more powerful and – just like a Mercedes S63 Coupe – has a ravenous appetite. For petrol, that is.
The standard BMW 8 Series is already one of the most intimidating cars on the road – short of a monstrous SUV – but the M8 gives it some even more aggressive visual upgrades. At the front, you get an even hungrier-looking mouth with some carbon-fibre fangs below the headlights, a menacing black grille and a speed-bump-scraping splitter.
Unique M-alloy wheels stand guard at each corner and at the rear you’ll find a carbon-fibre spoiler, a new rear diffuser and a set of four real exhaust pipes. No horrible plastic fakery going on here.
Step inside, and things feel genuinely special, too. There’s a new gear lever – instead of that divisive crystal knob in the standard 8 Series – a red starter button, loads of M-coloured stitching and some uber-supportive sports seats.
There’s also plenty of carbon fibre dotted about the place and some special M8-specific dials on the digital driver’s display that gives you all sorts of info about the car’s new driving modes.
The rest of the infotainment system doesn’t get any significant upgrades over the standard 8 Series’ unit, but it’s still dead easy to use and comes with a voice-activated personal assistant that’s so helpful Jeeves might want to start updating his CV. It’s a shame you still can’t get Android Auto, though.
If you’re looking for the absolute peak of BMW M engineering, then look no further than the new M8 Competition. Just be prepared to hand over some serious cash to park one on your drive…
The back seats are also disappointedly cramped, but that’s no different to the standard 8 Series. If you fancy bringing a few friends along for the ride, there’s always the BMW M8 Gran Coupe with four doors, roomier back seats and a bigger boot to consider.
Whichever of these cars you pick, you get the same 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine under the bonnet. This unit is related to the one in the M850i, but it’s been comprehensively re-worked by BMW’s nerdiest engineers so it produces a 600hp in standard trim and a whopping 625hp in range-topping M8 Competition guise.
As in many new high-performance BMWs, power is sent to all four wheels through an automatic gearbox and a clever four-wheel-drive system that can alter how much power is sent to each wheel.
How it does this depends on which of the M8’s many driving modes you choose – a spectrum ranging from tyre-destroying rear-wheel-drive setups to an uber-grippy four-wheel-drive mode that’ll blast you from 0-60mph in less than 3.2 seconds.
Even if you ignore the BMW M8’s top-trumps-winning stats, you’ll find it’s a seriously impressive car to drive. The standard adaptive suspension and extra underbody bracing helps make it feel even more agile than an M850i, or even an M5, in tight corners, yet it’ll settle down into an impressively relaxing cruise at motorway speeds.
The standard automatic gearbox is one of the best around, too – it’s smooth, responsive and doesn’t lurch at low speeds. One of the few thorns in the BMW M8’s side is that you have to pay extra for plenty of desirable driver-assistance systems – the sort that you get as standard on a Toyota Corolla…
Trickier than deciding whether you want to pay for these upgrades, however, is deciding if the M8 is worth the extra cash over the standard 8 Series. Sure, if it’s the ultimate M car you want, it’s the car for you, but for anyone looking for a fast two-seater sports car that’ll lap up long journeys with ease might be better off with an M850i.
The BMW M8 has a RRP range of £140,215 to £161,215. However, with carwow you can save on average £11,776. Prices start at £129,279 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £1,106. The price of a used BMW M8 on carwow starts at £67,920.
Our most popular versions of the BMW M8 are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|M8 Competition 2dr Step Auto||£129,279||Compare offers|
Well, it’s not cheap. I mean, were you expecting it to be? The M8 Competition (that’s the only version that’s available now) comes with a six-figure price tag as standard, although oddly the slightly roomier, four-door, M8 Gran Coupe is fractionally cheaper than the M8 two-door coupe, and certainly less expensive than the M8 convertible.
Now, the thing is that the M8 isn’t quite as pricey as it first appears. If you want a Porsche with comparable performance, then you’re going to have to spend around £20,000 more on a 911 Turbo, and that doesn’t even have as much outright power as the M8. You could get a Mercedes E-Class Coupe 53 AMG for a lot less cash, but that only comes with a 435hp straight-six engine and is nothing like as ferocious as the M8. The closest Mercedes rival to the M8 is probably the Mercedes-AMG GT four-door with the 63 V8 engine with 639hp, which, like the 911 Turbo, costs around £20,000 more. So, the M8 is a… bargain?
Towering performance and precision handling mark the M8 out, but it is very heavy and can actually feel intimidating when you’re away from the race track
The M8 isn’t going to be your automatic choice for urban transport, but you’re going to have to drive it into town eventually… There is actually an ‘Efficient’ engine mode for the mighty V8, but who on Earth is ever going to activate that in an M-car?
Needless to say, even with the adaptive shock-absorbers set to ‘Comfort’ mode, the M8 is stiffer and firmer around town than the M850i, but it’s neither a back-breaker nor a deal-breaker. You could easily live with driving an M8 around town, every day, no problem. Of course, it’s a big car and you sit low-down in it, so tight manoeuvres need a bit of care, and those massive, and expensive, alloy wheels are just waiting to be dragged against a high kerb in a car park. The surround-view cameras help, as the low roof and broad pillars mean the view out isn’t fabulous, and the automated parking system is great for keeping those wheels away from a kerb. Turning circle? You might as well be driving an oil-tanker…
On the motorway
Keep everything dialled down to Comfort, and the M8 is actually a really comfortable big-road cruiser (that goes double for the convertible version on a sunny day…). Of course, if you suddenly need to get a move on — such as merging with fast moving traffic — then even in Comfort mode the M8 leaps forward with proper venom. There’s a good bit of road noise kicked up by those big tyres on rough surfaces, but overall it’s a very refined thing, and the cocooning effect of that low slung cabin and those big seats makes you feel really comfy and cared for on a long run. Needless to say, you get a full suite of driving aids, including radar-guided cruise control and lane-keeping steering, but surely the point of owning an M8 is to drive it yourself.
On a twisty road
It’s not so much a twisty road you need for the M8 as a proper race track — once you’ve pushed the little, red ‘M2’ pre-set button to turn all the electronic controls up to maximum attack mode, the M8 becomes a truly ferocious weapon of a car. You can adjust the computer-controlled four-wheel drive system to a 4WD Sport setting, which sends more power to the rear wheels. That can be fun if you want to skid and drift about a bit, but leaving it in the regular four-wheel drive setting means you’ll be faster.
The M8 is astonishingly fast in a straight line, as you’d expect, but it’s a big, hefty car so you need to get your braking done in that same straight line if you’ve got a tight corner in front of you. Slow-in, fast-out is the M8’s preferred driving mode, but helpfully carbon-ceramic brakes are available as an option. Mind you, the brakes are excellent, and once you learn how to keep the two-tonne weight under control, you find that the M8 stays utterly flat in corners, and grips with exceptional tenacity.
The downside is that the extra power and weight mean that the M8 doesn’t feel as playful nor as engaging as the smaller M4 coupe, never mind the smaller and funner BMW M2. But it’s still a hugely impressive thing, and feels a little sharper than the M5 saloon with which it shares its engine and chassis — the lower centre of gravity helps, as does the stiffer body structure. You can feel the effect, too, of the clever M-Differential, which sends power to and between the back wheels, and which gives you more control than the standard version on the M850i.
On public roads, the M8 actually feels faster than it does on track, and you notice the weight less because you’re going slower (and legally…). In fact, that aggressive power delivery from the V8 can actually be a bit too much for road driving. Maybe we should have put it into Efficiency mode after all? Whatever, it’s a far sharper and more complete performance package than the M850i, but you can still argue a case that the M850i is a better all-rounder for a lot less money.
Practical? Well for two people who don’t need much luggage, the Coupe is fine. The M8 Gran Coupe gives you some useful extra space in the back, but the boot is never quite useful enough on either version
The M8 is perfectly practical if you’re sitting up front and only trying to carry two people. You’ll find that there’s plenty of storage space in the cubby under the armrest, and BMW is still one of the few car makers that puts cupholders in front of the gear selector, so you’re not constantly knocking your drink with your elbow when you go looking for reverse. There’s also a useful storage area at the bottom of the dashboard, which includes a wireless phone charger, and that gets a gorgeous, damped carbon-fibre lid. The door bins are a touch shallow, but have a big cutout to hold a water bottle. The glovebox is small enough to be pointless.
Space in the back seats
Speaking of pointless, there’s the M8’s back seats. Well, the M8 Coupe’s back seats, which are just about roomy enough for a real person to squeeze into, but the headroom and legroom are spectacularly tight, so you wouldn’t want to be back there for very long. There’s no middle rear seat at all.
If it’s space you need, you could upgrade (actually downgrade, as it’s fractionally cheaper than the M8 Coupe) to the four-door M8 Gran Coupe, which gets a longer wheelbase, back doors, and seats in the back you can actually use.
The M8 Coupe has a boot volume of 420 litres, which isn’t too bad, but the boot opening is quite shallow, and so too is the boot itself. It is quite long and wide, but that does rather limit the amount of stuff you’re going to be able to load into it.
Again, the M8 Gran Coupe does better — well, a little better. It gets 440 litres, and you can fold down the back seats, but you’re still stuck with the narrow boot opening, so it’s large, flat items only, please. It’s certainly not as practical as an Audi RS7 Sportback, which can offer 535 litres of boot space and a user-friendly hatchback opening.
Gorgeous cabin with a top-notch infotainment system, but it’s a shame some items are still cost options
The M8’s cabin is really gorgeous, but you might miss the crystal-topped gear selector from the lesser M850i. The M8 gets a leather-topped version with inset switches for selecting P and for setting the speed and ferocity of the gear change.
Yes, you can do that, and you can also use the M-Dynamic menu system to set up everything else — from the suspension stiffness to the throttle response to even the braking performance — and save your pre-sets to the little M1 and M2 buttons on the steering wheel. These allow you to quickly switch from a comfy in-town mode to a sporty open-road mode without diving into touchscreen menus.
That touchscreen also uses the iDrive clickwheel controller down on the console, or you can use steering wheel buttons, voice commands, or even ‘gesture control’ which means waggling your hand around in front of the screen to turn the volume up or down. Daft, really. The system itself is really good, though — arguably it’s a better infotainment setup than the newer ‘big screen’ version you get in the BMW 7 Series and its all-electric BMW i7 saloon sibling. Equally, the big digital driver’s instrument screen — which comes with some M-specific displays — is easier on the eyes than the latest version, and the head-up display — which projects speed and other info onto the windscreen — is excellent.
Overall quality is fantastic, even if you can find a lot of the same buttons and switches in much, much more affordable BMW models. The M8 does at least get a unique red engine starter button. It also gets wonderfully comfortable two-tone leather seats, and a soft Alcantara-suede headlining that you’ll want to stroke for hours. You also get nice contrast stitching for the seats and door panels, in BMW M’s traditional red, blue, and purple colours. You get lashings and lashings of carbon-fibre trim too, and M8 badges on the seat headrests, which even light up at night.
Being as the M8 has a 625hp V8 twin-turbo engine, you’re not going to be expecting the best fuel economy ever. And you’re not going to get it — officially, the M8 does 25mpg, but if you’re any way enthusiastic with that throttle pedal, that’s going to head quickly south to around 18mpg. If you’re taking your M8 on a trackday, don’t expect to see anything better than 10mpg…
The M8 has CO2 emissions of 265g/km, so you’ll pay the maximum Vehicle Excise Duty in the first year, plus the additional levy in years two-to-six for cars costing more than £40,000 (way more, in this case…). If you get the M8 as a company car, you’re going to be paying a lot of BIK tax.
The 8 Series hasn’t been put through the independent Euro NCAP crash tests, but the 8 Series is closely mechanically related to the 5 Series, and that got a full five-star score with a 91 per cent adult occupant rating. It gets an 85 per cent child rating too, and the M8 does indeed have ISOFIX points in the rear and the front passenger seats. The mighty V8 should bring the vomit up a treat on the run to the creche…
Annoyingly, BMW makes you pay extra for some useful safety and driver aids. There’s a £5,250 ‘Technology’ pack which gives you a loud Bowers & Wilkins stereo, but which also includes the Driving Assistant Professional pack. Buying this is the only way to get radar-guided cruise control (standard on a Toyota Corolla, let’s remind you…) centre-steer lane keeping, and upgraded collision warning, rear cross traffic, and blind spot warning systems.
BMW has a reputation for quality and reliability, but the turbo V8 engine in the M8 needs careful attention and servicing. These engines have a tendency to burn through a lot of oil as they age, so you need to make sure that the oil is checked and topped-up regularly, and that only the highest-grade oil is used. Other than that, if you’re using the performance of the car, the brakes, tyres, and suspension are all going to take a battering, so be prepared for big bills as the car gets older.
BMW sells all of its cars with a standard three-year, unlimited mileage warranty and you can optionally extend that out further for an extra payment. Just remember that the warranty doesn’t cover trackdays, so if you blow the gearbox on a race track, you’re going to have to pay for it yourself…
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.